A few months ago, my friend and wildly talented photographer, Scott Goldsmith called and asked if I would be willing to work on a pro-bono logo project that involved the Pittsburgh Police, Pittsburgh Steelers, children, and chess.
Yes. You heard that right, chess. No joke.
Now, I’m a fan of all these things individually, but I’m even more of a fan of the combination of them all. I love creating logos, and I really love a logo challenge, so I was immediately curious and I agreed to learn more. Scott then put me in touch with the man who was in charge of the Pittsburgh Police Junior Chess Club who turned out to be one of the most unique police offers I have ever encountered.
Officer David Shifren is a fiction writer and teacher, who became a cop at age 42 (yes, 42), and is still a writer and a teacher. Officer Shifren started the chess club two and 1/2 years ago as a way of building better relationships with the police and the community and to, “teach kids social skills and the important lessons in dealing with others.”
“Every kid has a cell phone, access to a computer and video games, which are largely based on reflexes. Chess slows you down, so you can deliberate more. That slowed-down thinking serves kids well.” He says.
But the story gets even more interesting. Officer Shifren discovered that Pittsburgh Steeler, Josh Dobbs, plays chess. So he invited him to participate. Josh not only jumped at the chance, but he brought pizza to the first club meeting he attended, and agreed to fund the printing of club t-shirts and awards with the logo I was asked to create.
Um, no pressure. Just the Pittsburgh Police, a Pittsburgh Steeler, and a bunch of excited kids waiting for this logo.
So, like I always do, I wandered about and panicked for a bit.
Then I thought about cops. And I though about kids. And I thought about chess. And I thought about how chess helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s fun, it’s interactive. But it’s not easy. Students have to work hard and focus to get good. When they do well, they know they have accomplished something. Being a police officer can be fun. But it’s not easy. It involves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s interactive. They have to work hard and focus to become officers, and when they do, and they do well, they know they have accomplished something. In truth, life in general can be fun. But it’s not easy. And we need to work hard and focus to achieve our goals.
What better symbol of accomplishment than a badge?
This logo symbolizes student achievement and the commitment of police officers in a unique and very wearable way. It represents where chess, students and police come together. And accomplish something.
I had a great time working with Officer Shifren. He is an engaged, inquisitive and thoughtful client and he made this logo project really fun. Not as fun as his chess club, I bet. But still, a pretty good time.